MAYA-GAIA INTRODUCTION & SITEMAP Originated 11 27 07
Note: My maya-gaia website, evolving since 1997, is a chronicle of my passing all considered opinion
through the lens of my Nirvikalpa Samadhi with both an open-mind and healthy skepticism.
A painful recounting of my slow growth to Gaian Consciousness-
Belatedly Discovering How To Live the End of My Life More Purposefully
I chronicle these shameful details to illustrate that an environmental consciousness does not necessarily manifest full blown but may accrue in punctuated fashion over a number of vagarious episodes until finally it is realized as a holistic responsibility. Now thankfully there are well-publicized paradigms that encourage kids to adopt enlightened ethics regarding all nature so fewer adults wind up as ignorant and insensitive as I was. (Warning: contains graphic descriptions of gratuitous violence that will sicken most viewers.)
I was born 1928 in Beacon in upstate New York, but since age five had grown up in Rockville Centre- in the NY City suburbs on Long Island and developed a relatively neurotic, socially dysfunctional personality aggravated by an alcoholic father who kept my poor mother in a constant anxiety over when the next sometimes-violent crises would blow up. As a child I retreated alone to the woods and lakes surrounding our home and as a teenager my neurosis made socializing a painful experience. My feeling towards nature was essentially a boy's typical fascination without any sense of spirituality and with a normal instinct to engage in proto hunting activity. When I was about twelve I fashioned a blowgun and needle-tipped darts to hunt sparrows darting around the hedges but after a week or so felt bad about seeing my victims wounded. At about 15 I briefly went through a period where I was permitted to use my brother's single-shot 22 rifle and went on a hunting adventure somewhere in upstate NY. I had zeroed in the accuracy of the rifle at target practice and when I had flushed a gray squirrel up a very tall oak- lay down at the base of the tree and patiently waited for it to look out of its perch. At the very top at the fork of two branches, the little guy peeked down at me and I took precise aim just above the fork and with great deliberation squeezed the trigger. For a moment the little head had vanished but then drops of blood started to drip out of the fork onto the leaves next to my face. Then in a fatal convulsion the little body pushed out of the fork and fell to the ground and continued to twitch for a few moments more at my feet. From the time I first saw the blood and through the convulsions on the ground, I was overwhelmed by grief, remorse and the senselessness of my act of murder of this poor creature. At that moment I lost every instinct to find pleasure in killing for sport- or so I thought.
When I was 17 I had quit high school and joined the Navy in the waning days of World War II and had a weekend furlough from my base at Norman, OK. More out of default than any real desire I had borrowed a single shot shotgun with a few shells from somewhere and took a bus out to the boonies where I was told I could hunt jackrabbits. After hiking out I began to flush big jackrabbits that turned out to be expert broken-field runners and after a number of misses I was down to my last shell. I became very determined that I would not waste my last shot and honed my killer instinct to get ready for my next shot. Another jackrabbit flushed and with a deadly calm I tracked its course, gave a bit of lead and fired. When the smoke cleared I was horrified to see this pathetic creature dragging itself over the ground with its hind legs blown off. The thought struck that it was trying to reach a burrow where it was going to die a slow and painful death and I raced towards it to dispatch it quickly. When I cut it off, it stopped dragging itself along and as I raised the gun to club it's head to put it out of its misery its big eyes followed my movements in an unmistakable look of mounting terror. Just as I was about to strike my blow it screamed- not the scream of a small furry creature- but that of a human female about to be raped. The shock of hearing this and the abject horror I had committed made me hesitate for a moment but made my obligation to end its suffering an imperative by which I followed through with the blow that crushed its skull. This event finally ended for all time my urge to hunt any animal.
After the war (WW II) I finished high school and spent a year in college- then left for California to seek my fortune. I became fascinated with skin-diving and took a variety of odd jobs to support my new passion. Realizing that I had to find a serious career I joined the Air Force as a cadet pilot but after a year came to the conclusion that I never would enjoy flying and resigned after wasting the government's expenses of providing 100 hours of training me to fly a T-6. I decided to somehow make diving my career and moved down to Miami where I figured I would have year-round diving opportunities. I became fascinated by the variety of all the marine tropical fish and devised ways to capture them and keep them alive in aquaria. It was the start of several years of trial and error to learn how to successfully rear a variety of species and led to the self-publication of the first book of keeping Marine Tropicals in home aquaria. The book eventually was republished by All Pets company and in the last edition was essentially published as a production of the Shedd Aquarium with no mention of me as original author.
I arrived at a position of ethics in which I recognized that capturing all these beautiful creatures, many of them juveniles of larger specimens where they would most likely wind up killed by inept hobbyists- was morally irresponsible and plain wrong. I stopped promoting the hobby of keeping captured marine tropical fish in home aquaria. (I really enjoyed the animated film- Finding Nemo whose theme featured the immorality of the marine tropical aquaria hobby.
During my collecting, I had advanced to using scuba and now became rather a pioneer in stretching the domain that scuba allowed humans to explore- in deep-diving, night diving and diving in the springs and caves in central Florida. For a period I engaged in spear-fishing for sport, totally oblivious to the fact of fish being sentient creatures as I had recognized years ago in my ethical epiphanies while hunting squirrels and jack rabbits. My peak experience occurred while diving a wreck site off Jupiter that was in relatively deep (depth around 120 feet) water so was virtually unexplored at the time. When I got down to the site I discovered it was populated by a school of giant jewfish- ranging in size of between 400 and 600 or so pounds and all totally unafraid of approaching me, rolling sideways to get a better view and showing absolutely no fear or aggression. I typically carried a terrible underwater weapon called a CO2 gas gun that would propel a 4-foot long section of 3/8 inch steel curtain rod through a 3/4 inch plywood plate underwater and was capable of killing a large shark with a headshot. For reasons that are utterly inexplicable- I proceeded to shoot several of these huge perfectly harmless and inedible creatures with steel arrows which of course caused them to fly off somewhere to die a slow and painful death- with no more conscious remorse than if I had shot a plywood target. I'm not sure when the realization slowly came to me as to the immorality of my action but somewhere within a month, I had resolved never to senselessly kill another aquatic or marine or terrestrial or avian creature again.
Update 02 20 09:
I have just started to read Edward Abbey's 1968 Desert Solitaire which like Aldo Leopold's The Sand County Almanac 1978 is one of the classics which have contributed to raising environmental awareness- yet was shocked to read his dispassionate account of an "experiment" in which he senselessly kills a cottontail and leaves it for scavengers- not only with no apparent consciousness but more a sense of satisfaction for having dispatched the 'wicked' rabbit. end update
At the time I experienced my Samadhi (1970) I was living a totally self-centered, project oriented and ambitious lifestyle. I had quit my position at the U of Miami Marine Lab where I'd been an Oceanographic technician operating automated deep-sea cameras, to become an entrepreneur buying residential real estate which I'd improve- rent out and wait for the value to appreciate in the rapidly rising real estate market and then sell at an appreciable profit. A couple of years previously I had discovered the aphrodisiac effects of marijuana and had adopted a routine of once-a-week partying with my girlfriend of the moment. My private life was becoming increasingly hedonistic and was configured to maximize my opportunity at age 42 to meet young ladies for casual sex. Because I almost totally lacked social skills for night-clubbing, dancing, etc I needed to create a situation where I could come in contact with girls in a non-social setting and bought an exotic, Chinese-style mansion in Coral Gables near the U of Miami and rented 4 bedrooms out to college coeds inspired by the movie "Under the Yum Yum Tree". My success at conquests of my tenants being rather unreliable I also picked up "chicks" in nearby Coconut Grove which was our local version of California's Haight Ashbury.
It was during this time I met Patti on the beach at Crandon Park. She had just started to set up her beach blanket and I watched her lithe young body, fascinated as she circled her campsite making meticulous adjustments before finally settling down. I walked up and said- "You reminded me of a cat I had that would spend time arranging its bedding before settling in." or something to that effect. It turned out to be the perfect line since Patti had a cat she was very attached to who did the same thing. This was the start of an intense affair that would culminate a year later in Patti bringing me to an ecstatic climax resulting in my Samadhi episode. Almost immediately I felt an unease in my lack of purposefulness in my present lifestyle and over the next few months evolved a plan to get closer to nature and made several exploratory trips to the Blue Ridge Mountains in N. Carolina. Eventually Patti and I moved to a small motel I bought with the idea of turning it into a hostile for back-packers and nature-lovers. After a couple of years it became painfully clear that catering to young tourists meant hosting kids whose idea of communing with nature was to find a place with a view- get stoned- and stare out into space for four hours. After selling the motel, we moved down to Durham and I spent time at the Foundation For Research Into the Nature of Man - an outgrowth of the Rhine Group of transpersonal psychology researchers at U of NC- Chapel Hill. FRNM (later named The Psychical Research Foundation) headed by psychologist Bill Roll. They operated from a grant directed to the study of evidence for the survival of consciousness which included investigation into poltergeists and other paranormal phenomena. I started a group (The Wholeness Foundation) who met to discuss metaphysics and transcendent experiences but wound up focusing on how to deal with the psychotic fear of death of one of the participants. One of the group was a brilliant guy who insisted on explaining away my Samadhic episode with a materialist psychic/physics theory which was utterly beyond my comprehension since at the time I had not ventured into the scientific realm and he soon had an intellectual ally in an attractive young woman who claimed to have had a Samadhi experience on psychedelics and was convinced that it was no big deal. Then there was the guy who was obsessed with a psychotic fear of death and a few others who were normally curious about the whole subject. One evening a Brazilian woman who had been invited by the foundation to be examined for her reputed psychic abilities joined us. After the physics guy had delivered one of his diatribes essentially refuting any metaphysical aspects to the transcendent experience this woman quietly started to deliver an appraisal of this guy's assumptions- and although I can't recall her comments- the intelligence sent me into a trance-like euphoria as she demolished all his skeptical hypothesizing. She then turned to the young lady saying- "you believe you have experienced Samadhi but I will tell you that you have not!" followed by a short but utterly convincing explanation which seemed to leave the girl completely nonplussed. She continued her evaluation of each member of the group- offering reassurances here and admonitions there and when she finished (she never addressed me) the room was essentially left in stunned silence. Only then did I start to recover from my trance-like state and had to wipe away tears of euphoria that had welled up during her emotionally charged performance. I have no doubt that she was a fully realized being as I had a similar emotional experience when some time later I attended a talk by Sri Swami Satchidananda at U of NC at Chapel Hill who confided to me later, that he felt drained by the vampire effect of disbelief- with my exception- in our skeptical audience.
Within a few months Patti and I split- she off with a new girlfriend to unknown adventures in California and I moving back down to Miami to decide on what next. In the following four years I developed a bonsai nursery business, collecting and establishing wild bonsai from the Bahamas and S. Florida but soon realized that it was an environmentally destructive process and tried to establish an arboretum for particularly beautiful wild tree specimens that were to be wiped out by development. My projects in Miami were interrupted with my having to attend a crises with my aging mother and I moved up to Stuart to help attend her last four years of life. During this time I attempted to express my concern for Gaia by hiking and canoeing all over S. Florida producing images of vanishing landscapes and wildlife. In the following years I produced a video to raise awareness for the need to protect water bird rookeries in the Indian River Lagoon, became an environmental activist, testifying at hearings to protect nature reserves, wetlands, mangroves and saving the habitat of the endangered Florida Scrub Jay. I became consumed with nature photography and writing letters to the editors in defense of conservation. After founding a local chapter of the Sierra Club, I found all my efforts made very little impact on the actual fate of the environment or wildlife they were concerned with. Eventually I dropped out of my activism and wound up simply painting over-sized landscapes from my archive of nature photographs. After a couple of years of exhibition with one award and few sales I have abandoned my painting and feel it is reasonable that my greatest purpose for the remaining years of my life is to advance the premise inherent in my personal Samadhi experience- that protecting Gaia is humankind's supreme responsibility- that it is obviously a self-serving priority in that our own quality of life and very survival depends on her well being. (Currently I volunteer as developer for the website for our local chapter of the Audubon Society.)
In 1997 I initiated my Maya Gaia website to chronicle my efforts to integrate my Samadhi experience and over the next few years, in a rather lazy and sporadic fashion, Googled sources that provided some perspectives on basic metaphysics. By 2000 my web project had become dormant and contained only the essential message that the most poignant truths revealed in Samadhi is that while alive we have free will to determine how we express compassion for all of nature with a dual personal relationship with God. At this time I was not familiar enough with scientific, philosophical or metaphysical language and principles to attempt to speculate on what constitutes That nature and our relationship- before, during and immediately after our life beyond my immediate Samadhi revelations whose essence was- when we die, we join God's cosmic consciousness like a drop in an ocean of light, bliss and love and that there is a possibility that there is some mystical process that allows some aspects of our consciousness to survive in a continuum of rebirths. It wasn't until I gave up on my painting in 2005 that I acquired a real sense of mission to learn enough about consciousness science, metaphysics and esoteric arts to interpolate what I finally realized was my unique Nirvikalpa Samadhi experience and to examine the relative merits of a broad range of noetic and metaphysical issues through the lens of my Samadhi. Since then I've steadily grown my website with essays and critiques from the original ten pages to its present 50 or more with the hope that it can contribute to raising Gaian Consciousness in all humankind.
We may not have the talent or passion of a Jane Goodall or a Alfred Leopold to defend nature but if we redirect even a small portion of the time and effort that we spend on our postmodern spiritual quests- to volunteering or supporting a conservation or environmental program- we may discover that ecospirituality is a path to Self Realization.
Gaia Mixed Messages Edward Abbey is respected as a postmodern Thoreau from his writings defending wildness and ecology yet in the work that raised him to an icon in the environmental movement- Desert Solitaire- in his infamous chapter of the 'Wicked Rabbit' -he reveals a disturbing ambivalence in regards to what can only be described as a gratuitous disregard for virtually every moral compunction against wanton execution of wildlife. The episode illustrates the practical confusion that permeates Gaia consciousness and environmental ethics mirroring conflicts that arise in metaphysics and religious philosophy.
Ecospirituality Controversy That topics such as the endangered species act and global warming have raised controversy between the industrial complex and conservationists comes as no surprise. What is almost shocking is the disparagement of Eco Spirituality by the Integral Spirituality community and specifically the Wilberians who seem to view Gaian Consciousness as a distraction from their advocating the primacy of personal transformation.
Gaian Paradigm by Bill Ellis - "While James Lovelock recognizes the implication of the Gaia theory to religion. His co-author Lynn Margulis is disturbed by the use of the word Gaia in some of the new age spirituality and pseudo science cults. Both are right. I couldn’t agree more that Gaia has often been used, as have other scientific theories including relativity, quantum mechanics and Tesla electronics, to 'prove' spiritual or other pseudo science concepts."
The Gaia Mythos John Lash of the The Marion Institute writes: In Metahistory Quest Gaia-Sophia is the founding principle of culture, the standard of sanity for our species. As explained in Insane and Inhumane, the intelligence endowed in the human species is a precious dose of nous, "divine knowing", and it comes to us straight from the "mother love" of the Earth Goddess. The gift of Gaia-Sophia engenders both our survival skills and our ethical sensibilities. To recognize the source of the endowment, the seed of divine intelligence unfolding in us, is the single most important act of reverence of which humans are capable. Loving Gaia is the height of human destiny. In the recognition of what makes us human we come into a sublime alignment. Fostering this alignment is the aim and essence of the Gaia Mythos.
Essential Writings on Nonduality - edited by Jerry Katz. Review by Alice A. Chestnut: Jerry Katz had me from the first sentence when he defined nonduality as "the experience of our true nature, the taste of being" -- what a clear, concise definition. Direct seeing itself is the experience -- you can call the experience itself Self, or if you choose, God -- and in this direct seeing one becomes whole. This is the experience of becoming a participant in the natural bliss of plants and flowers and trees, and it is one's death as well as rebirth. As soon as we drop the mind [ego] that is the source of all fear, this new world unfolds. In it, we become one with nature. Nothing is separate, nothing is different, and everything begins to throb in harmonious peace, which is our true nature.
Update 02 20 09:
My reflections on how my samadhi experiences has graced me with a sense of purpose- even mission- in my old age. End Update
As of April 30, 2012 I've turned 84 and technically classified as an elderly senior. I'm hoping some younger writer who has a deist/philosophical turn of mind and finds my samadhi chronicles of value and ideologically compatible could continue to build the Maya-Gaia website in partnership with me until I go eternally non-dual and then have it as their own production. The annual fee for renewing hosting and domain name is $150. Although my writings are exclusively from the perspective of my Samadhi revelations I feel they are a unique contribution to the body of evidence for the Brahman/Gaian Paradigm and should not be lost after I'm gone. Anyone interested can Email me at smalltownsATusaDOTcom and enter mayagaia as subject.
Update 05 12 2012: I have funded an account with orders to automatically renew the annual fees for hosting my four websites that contain over 100 of my Maya-Gaia pages and the evolution-involution.org slideshow and other webpages. I will try to provide funding to at least 2020. End Update
Cybernetic Immortality- from Principia Cybernetica Web:
The successes of science make it possible for us to raise the banner of cybernetic immortality. The idea is that the human being is, in the last analysis, a certain form of organization of matter. This is a very sophisticated organization, which includes a high multilevel hierarchy of control. What we call our soul, or our consciousness, is associated with the highest level of this control hierarchy. This organization can survive a partial --- perhaps, even a complete --- change of the material from which it is built. Most of the knowledge acquired by an individual still disappears at biological death. Only a tiny part of that knowledge is stored outside the brain or transmitted to other individuals. It is a shame to die before realizing one hundredth of what you have conceived and being unable to pass on your experience and intuition. (The only sticker is that the data has to be installed on a site that will stay online in perpetuity- but see update above- ef)
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MAYA-GAIA INTRODUCTION & SITEMAP